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Thursday, April 12, 2012
Nerlens Noel lands at Lexington

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Kentucky strikes gold again. John Calipari and his Wildcats hit a grand slam with the announcement that seven-foot Nerlens Noel will wear the Kentucky uniform.

Why is this guy so important? Any time you lose a player the quality of an Anthony Davis, you need to reload. The Wildcats will lose a lot from the national championship team, and Calipari put together a dynamite class, led by Noel in the middle. Then add Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley and Big Blue Nation will be smiling once again. Mr. Calipari can flat-out recruit.

Noel
Many recruiting experts consider Nerlens Noel to be an even more developed shot-blocker than Kentucky's Anthony Davis.

These guys will be vital contributors, but Noel will be the star of stars. His shot-blocking ability is unparalleled; I saw him myself at the City of Palms tournament in Fort Myers, Florida and was totally impressed. Noel is as good a shot-blocker as I have ever seen on the scholastic ranks.

How will the translate on the collegiate level? Only time will tell, but I believe he will be a big hit in Lexington.

Look for Kentucky to be dynamite again. Wow, fans in that region will have a lot to cheer about. Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals will be special with the likes of Peyton Siva, Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan expected to return. Indiana has a top 10 recruiting class plus the return of Cody Zeller and Christian Watford as both said no to the dollars of the NBA to return to Bloomington.

They will have three of the best five teams in the preseason rankings. Good times are ahead in Lexington, Louisville and Bloomington, baby!

Let's also send a salute out to Ben Howland as UCLA will have the kind of quality talent he enjoyed when the Bruins had Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and company.

Bringing in a class led by Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad is truly special. What a duo that will be. Anderson is Mr. Versatility, as he showed playing for Bob Hurley at St. Anthony's. Then add Muhammad, a prolific scorer who will put points up on the board.

There is something to cheer about in Westwood after last season's bummer.

The Pac-12 will be back with UCLA and Arizona sporting terrific diaper dandies.

College basketball is in the news big-time with these signings.